RIYADH, Jan 20, (Agencies): Saudi Arabia on Tuesday accused Iran of a nearly fourdecade record of “sedition, unrest and chaos,” as the international community tried to calm tensions between the regional rivals. Tensions between Sunniruled Saudi Arabia and predominantly Shiite Iran reached a new high this month when Riyadh and a number of its Sunni Arab allies cut diplomatic ties with Tehran. They acted after protesters burned Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran following the kingdom’s January 2 execution of prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.
“Since the Iranian revolution in 1979, Iran has established a record of spreading sedition, unrest and chaos in the region,” the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted an unnamed senior foreign ministry official as saying. “During the same period, the kingdom has maintained a policy of restraint in spite of having suffered — as have neighbouring countries — the consequences of Iran’s continued aggressive policies.” The official said Iranian policy was based primarily on the idea of exporting revolution.
“Iran recruits militias in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen”, the official said, further accusing Iran of supporting “terrorism” and carrying out assassinations. SPA published a 58-point “fact sheet”, prepared by the foreign ministry, “to illustrate Iran’s aggressive policies” and to refute “the persistent lies” from Tehran, including an article by Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in The New York Times last week.